French President Nicolas Sarkozy may not be able to have it both ways when it comes to balancing between the Armenians and the Turks. Faced with pressure from Armenian Diaspora groups, Sarkozy pledged not to give his 25-centimes' worth when France's Senate on May 4 votes on a bill that would make it a crime to deny that the massacre ethnic Armenians suffered in 1915 at the hands of Ottoman Turks is a genocide.
France's National Assembly adopted the bill in 2006. But alleged US diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks suggest that Sarkozy has played a diplomatic double game about the bill ever since.
Sarkozy vowed to France’s significant ethnic Armenian electorate to pull the bill through the parliament, but, according to Wikileaks, he also promised Ankara that the Senate would kill the measure.
The revelations sparked an outpouring of Armenian anger in France. Crooner Charles Aznavour, one of the most prominent Armenian Diaspora members in France, threatened to rally the Armenian vote against Sarkozy in next year's presidential elections.
Sarkozy may now have promised Armenian Diaspora members not to interfere with the genocide denial vote in the Senate, but will he say the same when Ankara calls?